APSA’s annual Educational Seminar provides a wide range of information to employees of plastic surgery practices

The Association of Plastic Surgery Assistants (APSA) held its 32nd annual Educational Seminar in San Francisco from October 7 to 11, in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). APSA membership is open to all employees of practices of board-certified or board-eligible plastic surgeons, it and currently numbers 500.

Continuing education credits were offered, and a broad array of topics was covered, at the seminar. The diverse program offered sessions to fit the needs of front- and back-office personnel, nurses, scrub technicians, medical assistants, aestheticians, office managers and administrators, secretaries, billing personnel, receptionists, and employees in the academic arena.

This year’s seminar began with a Chinese New Year–themed welcome reception at which attendees could visit with vendors and network with peers. Later the same evening, seminar attendees joined ASPS meeting attendees at their opening ceremonies and welcome reception at Yerba Buena Gardens in downtown San Francisco.

Timely Topics
The topics covered this year were timely and insightful. There were several general sessions, as well as breakout sessions to cover all interest areas. These sessions, which covered clinical, administrative and skin care topics, included:

“Surveying the Playing Field.” James Polakof, PhD, of Health Mentor Alliance (Whispering Pines, NC) said you can communicate effectively with Baby Boomers, seniors, and Generation X patients by determining their particular needs and motivations.

“How to Manage Your Staff, Your Boss, and Yourself Without Going Mad.” Karen Zupko of KarenZupko & Associates (Chicago) advised that the manager must learn to delegate! Delegation can be formal or informal, but it’s always important to be clear about your goals and expectations. For best results, review your purpose, know your people, establish deadlines and a reporting procedure, grant the necessary authority, and follow up.

“An ASPS Update.” Bruce Cunningham, MD, FACS, of the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis), and outgoing president of ASPS, reported that the society is working on initiatives at the state level such as scope of practice, office-based surgery, taxation, and professional-liability reform. On the federal level, is is working on Medicare payments and coverage for childhood deformities. ASPS wants to hear from individual practices to assist with any difficulties they may have in these areas.

“Integrating Electronic Medical Records With Your Current Practice-Management Software.” Peter Legorburu of Brickell Research (Miami) said that you do not always have to purchase new practice-management software when you purchase your electronic medical records software. Work with your vendors to achieve a positive outcome for everyone.

“Web Site Development and Updating.” Yours truly reported that your Web site can be a passive brochure or an interactive Internet selling and marketing tool, and is just one facet of your comprehensive marketing plan.

“Introducing New Procedures Into Your Practice.” Lesley Ranft of Lesley and Associates (El Cajon, Calif) said introducing a new medical procedure into your practice depends upon seamless, informative, and user-friendly practice-building techniques.

“Digital Photography.” Thomas Bialoglow, BA, RT, of Canfield Imaging Systems (Fairfield, NJ) shared that the easiest way to get more consistent and reproducible clinical photos is to mark your SLR camera lens and the area in which you have your subject stand.

“Health Benefits of Chocolate.” Brian J. Lee, MD, who practices in Fort Wayne, Ind, covered the health benefits of chocolate as well as its production process from the cacao tree to the table. The session ended with a tasting of a variety of types of chocolate.

“Breakthroughs in Anti-Aging.” James Beckman, MD, of Therapon (Springdale, Ark) reported that aging is a process—not a disease. Cellular biology and technology have stimulated the development of new ingredients for use in topical skin care products to combat the appearance of aging. Efficient antioxidants can prevent further damage to skin structure and cells. Peptides can actually repair damage, as well as restore younger skin thickness and reverse wrinkle depth and width from within.

“Improve Your Skin Care Business.” Jill Sprengel, RN, BS, of LaRoche-Posay USA (New York) said that, for your skin care business to succeed, you must make your aesthetician part of the team and make a commitment to growing a healthy revenue stream from it.

“The Role of the Plastic Surgeon in Iraq.” Thomas Crabtree, MD, of the US Army in Honolulu told attendees that due to the armor that servicemen and servicewomen now wear, more and more of them are being saved from what were once considered to be life-threatening injuries. Of special interest, Crabtree noted that plastic surgeons are performing the majority of the surgical procedures performed on Iraqi civilians who need routine surgical care.

2007 Annual Meeting
Plan to attend APSA’s 33rd annual education seminar October 2007 in Baltimore. For more information, please visit www.plasticassistants.info.

Catherine Maley, MBA, is president and senior marketing strategist of San Francisco-based Cosmetic Image Marketing, which specializes in helping aesthetic practices grow. She can be reached via her Web site, www.cosmeticimagemarketing.com.